MON: Being Prepared. Adopting a values-driven approach to digital inclusion within a volunteer organisation. (Samantha Marks)
Can a ‘values-based approach’ to digital inclusion, offer a simple, but effective framework to help digital participation?
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3 December 2014
Volunteers in Scouting do amazing things with young people every day, and whether they are climbing a mountain or using social media they should use the values and methods of scouting to guide them.
For The Scout Association, education is about helping young people build confidence and life-long skills. This participatory approach to education means the ‘digital-inclusion’ of adult volunteers is less about accessibility of content and more about participation in online practices and engaging with young people in the online world. Consequently, the ‘Being Prepared’ project wanted to explore whether the adoption of a ‘values-based approach’ to digital inclusion, could offer a simple, but effective framework to help engage volunteers in discussions about digital participation.
Digital inclusion is a multi-faceted concept, and the barriers to inclusion are embedded in social, cultural, economic and technological contexts. Existing research and advice often centres on the practicalities of ‘how to’ go online. While this is important, addressing the social and psychological barriers that adults may have to overcome are essential and less commonplace conversations. Therefore digital inclusion should also examine the ‘why’ go online and the ‘how to be’ online.
The ‘why’ go online looks at how motivation and attitudes towards technology use will affect the choices made. Individuals may think the technical aspects too challenging or feel participation is irrelevant. For this reason discussions about digital inclusion should consider the ‘meaningfulness’ of digital participation in people’s lives. Digital identity, the ‘how to be’ online, is about the presentation of self to others online, and the perception of self, developed through online interactions. From a practitioner perspective, digital identity is at the forefront of discussions about online safety, as individuals learn to navigate the online world. Exploring identity highlights the risks, fears and feelings connected to the sense of self and exposes individual vulnerabilities in an unknown environment. Digital inclusion needs to help individuals to take responsibility and make informed choices about their own digital identity, so they can take advantage of the opportunities as well as understanding the risks afforded by digital participation.
This presentation tells the story of the ‘Being Prepared’ project. In order to understand the context, it introduces Scouting and outlines the debates about digital inclusion and digital identity in more detail. The project takes a socio-cultural view of inclusion and identity, and proposes that digital inclusion, like education and development is constructed and defined through our interactions with others and the world around us. Therefore the existing motivations and skills of Scouting volunteers, established upon shared values, can encourage meaningful and truthful digital participation, within a framework already observed.
The presentation will conclude by presenting the project artefact; an open educational resource, which takes the form of a website. The purpose of the artefact is not to provide volunteers with the answers, but to engage them in the conversation, and to help them to take responsibility for making their own choices. Choices that are founded upon Scouting values and methods.
The Being Prepared Project website
The website is the output of the project. It is a website for volunteers to explore the questions and research that the project has expored and is designed to prompt discussion and reflection.
The webiste is a work in progress, but you can watch it develop here: http://www.i-m.mx/samsantics/Being-Prepared
17:49 on 13 January 2015 (Edited 18:28 on 13 January 2015)
Personal Blog: Engaging in the project theme and topics
Throughout the project I have been blogging about it's development, the research I have been exploring and some of the key questions.
Please visit my blog and explore if you would like to know more about my motivations and reflections about digital inclusion, digital identity and being a networked practitioner.
17:56 on 13 January 2015 (Edited 18:29 on 13 January 2015)
Conference presentation (Spoiler alert)
I will be adding a link to the conference presentation and transcript here prior to the conference to ensure accessibility of content for all.
18:19 on 13 January 2015 (Edited 12:39 on 9 February 2015)
References and Links
For references and links to resources used during this project see the 'Contribute' section below. Please feel free to post any additional references or resources you think might be useful.
20:33 on 2 February 2015
Scouting Values and Methods
An important part of my project is Scouting values and method. Please find a summary below of what these are, or watch the video in the embedded content section.
Purpose of Scouting
Scouting exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society.
Values of Scouting
As Scouts we are guided by these values:
Integrity: We act with integrity; we are honest, trustworthy and loyal.
Respect: We have self-respect and respect for others.
Care: We support others and take care of the world in which we live.
Belief: We explore our faiths, beliefs and attitudes.
Cooperation: We make a positive difference; we cooperate with others and make friends.
Scouting takes place when young people, in partnership with adults, work together based on the values of Scouting and:
- enjoy what they are doing and have fun;
- take part in activities indoors and outdoors;
- learn by doing;
- share in spiritual reflection;
- take responsibility and make choices;
- undertake new and challenging activities;
- make and live by their Promise.
09:29 on 6 February 2015 (Edited 09:31 on 6 February 2015)